Christchurch town hall to be saved

Excavation machinery at work on the empty Convention Centre site, with the earthquake damaged Christchurch Town Hall in the background. Photo / Christchurch Star
Excavation machinery at work on the empty Convention Centre site, with the earthquake damaged Christchurch Town Hall in the background. Photo / Christchurch Star

One of Christchurch's few remaining iconic buildings is likely to be repaired.

The city council's community, recreation and culture committee today voted to repair the town hall at a cost of $127.5 million.

The Sir Miles Warren-designed building, which opened in 1972, is insured for $68.9 million.

Sir Miles said: "To my mind and a very large group of people the idea to restore the town hall was crucial to the city. We have lost so much heritage in the earthquakes so to have made the first step in retaining a part of it, is great. It's been a very long complex process that still has a long way to go yet."

The full city council will meet on November 22 to decide whether to endorse today's decision.

But Cr Glenn Livingstone said he would be seeking answers from council chief executive Tony Marryatt over why the town hall was insured for much less than its repair cost.

He believed ratepayers would end up paying for the difference between the repair cost and the insurance cover.

"Personally I don't think it's fair that ratepayers should fund the shortfall, especially with everything that's happened with the earthquakes and ratepayers having to pay for other things in the city," he said.

"The problem is that the town hall is valued so highly by the community. It's the price we pay for something people really want.

"I will be asking Mr Marryatt if there are any other creative ways that the shortfall could be funded and I would like to know why the town hall was under insured because the cost to ratepayers is very high. It is a lot of money for ratepayers to cough up," he said.

The committee decided against a council staff recommendation to fix only the auditorium and demolish the rest of the town hall.

- Christchurch Star

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf01 at 18 Dec 2014 20:39:44 Processing Time: 588ms